Richard Herd has added his talents to the mix of nearly every film and tv star in the last fifty-ish years. It is easier to do a list of the people he hasn’t worked with! If you don’t know the name you will definitely remember the face! From trying to take over the planet as an alien commander, bossing T.J. Hooker around, bossing George around, bossing the United Federation of Planets around, saving Voyager, and what he did as Roman Armitage in Get Out, he solidifies himself as a true hero of cult.
Richard Herd was born on September 26th 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Katherine and Richard Herd Sr., a railroad engineer who also served in World War II. Growing up was tough for Richard as not only did his father pass away when he was young, he also had to battle bone marrow cancer which affected the growth and development of his legs. As a result of this he was educated at the Industrial School for Crippled Children. As he grew older he had to face a number of operations which successfully saved his legs from deformity.
His mother’s love of music rubbed of on Richard and he began playing the drums which in turn lead to some early acting training on radio. He soon joined the Liberty Mutual Theatre in Boston and by the late 1940s was studying Shakespeare under Claude Rains. A host of children’s theatre plays followed as did the Korean War.
Like his father before him, Richard enlisted into the U.S. Army but injured his knee in basic training. This injury resulted in an honourable discharge and led to Richard going on to work for the Army Signal Corps in a host of training films.
More plays followed with Richard reflecting “the theatre gave me an identity. It taught me social skills and taught me to listen, and made me more of a maverick.”
In 1970 Richard debuted on the big screen in Hercules in New York and within a few years had racked up appearances in Kojak, The Rockford Files, All the President’s Men, The Streets of San Francisco, The Hunted Lady, Dr. Scorpion, F.I.S.T., Terror Out of the Sky, and Doctor Scorpion.
In 1979 Herd played the corrupt businessman Evan McCormack in The China Syndrome opposite Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas. This role brought Richard to the notice of many. This resulted with roles in Eight is Enough, Starsky and Hutch, Ike: The War Years, The Onion Field, The Lazarus Syndrome, Wolf Lake, M*A*S*H, Schizoid, Private Benjamin, and Dallas.
As the 1980’s rolled in so did one of the busiest times in Richard’s career. Landmark roles were soon to follow such as Captain Dennis Sheridan on T. J. Hooker, and as the Visitors Supreme Commander John on V and V: The Final Battle.
Other notable appearances included The Greatest American Hero, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, Walking Tall, Strike Force, Hart to Hart, The Powers of Matthew Star, Falcon Crest, Matt Houston, The A-Team, Knight Rider, Hardcastle and McCormick, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Dynasty, Hill Street Blues, Simon & Simon, Beauty and the Beast, Matlock, China Beach, Gleaming the Cube, The Golden Girls, and Planes Trains and Automobiles.
As we entered the 1990’s Richard was still as active as he ever was with roles in Midnight Caller, Jake and the Fat Man, Tales from the Crypt, Renegade, Murder She Wrote, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., SeaQuest 2032, ER, Walker Texas Ranger, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Richard also guest starred on Quantum Leap as Moe Stein in the episode Futureboy:
October 6, 1957: Sam leaps Kenny Sharp, better known as “Future Boy,” sidekick to Moe Stein, host of the kid’s show, “Time Patrol,” who also happens to be building a time machine in his basement. Unless Sam can prevent Moe’s daughter from attempting to have her father committed, Moe is destined to be killed as he tries to hop a freight train.
The episode is viewed as one of the greatest episodes in the series with Richard reprising his role in the series finale.
Richard also had a recurring role in Seinfield as Mr. Matt Wilhelm, George Costanza’s supervisor while working as assistant to the travelling secretary at Yankee Stadium. Another recurring role that Richard would bring to the TV screen was that of Admiral Owen Paris in Star Trek: Voyager. Paris was a senior Starfleet official, the former captain of the starship USS Al-Batani, and the father of Tom Paris. His most significant contribution was in command of the Pathfinder Project and its follow-up, Operation Watson, which developed major advances in long-range communication to successfully re-establish contact with the lost Starfleet vessel USS Voyager.
Further roles included Diagnosis Murder, Caroline in the City, Jag, The Fugitive, The O.C., Everwood, NYPD Blue, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Ghost Whisperer, Confessions of a Pit Fighter, Desperate Housewives, Dog Days of Summer, Cold Case, Fallout: New Vegas, Star Trek: Renegades, Get Out, Shameless, and Hawaii Five-0.
As well as his career on screen Richard has remained busy on the theatre stage where he appeared in a pre-Broadway tryout of On the Waterfront as well as Other People’s Money and The Big Knife. His finest hour on stage though was his portrayal of the epic film producer Cecil B. DeMille in the one-man show Cecil B. DeMille Presents, which he has toured throughout America.
Richard is also no stranger to the director/producer/writer’s chair. He directed the play Idle Wheels, for the Road Theatre Company in North Hollywood. Also he was a producer of the N.Y. play, Agamemnon, and he also co-produced and performed in the play, The Couch with the Six Insides. Richard is also a playwright and has had a presentation of his play, Prisoner of the Crown, produced at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre.
In recent years Richard has began to focus on his painting and has dispalyed many works across America. You can purchase his work HERE.
“I have been blessed with many opportunities throughout my career, you have to seek your individuality and find what works for you, whatever your career goal.”